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A Murder at Rosamund's Gate

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For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and someone close to Lucy falls under suspicion. Lucy can't believe it, but in a time where the accused ar For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and someone close to Lucy falls under suspicion. Lucy can't believe it, but in a time where the accused are presumed guilty until proven innocent, lawyers aren't permitted to defend their clients, and—if the plague doesn't kill the suspect first—public executions draw a large crowd of spectators, Lucy knows she may never find out what really happened. Unless, that is, she can uncover the truth herself. Determined to do just that, Lucy finds herself venturing out of her expected station and into raucous printers' shops, secretive gypsy camps, the foul streets of London, and even the bowels of Newgate prison on a trail that might lead her straight into the arms of the killer. In her debut novel Murder at Rosamund's Gate, Susanna Calkins seamlessly blends historical detail, romance, and mystery in a moving and highly entertaining tale.


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For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and someone close to Lucy falls under suspicion. Lucy can't believe it, but in a time where the accused ar For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and someone close to Lucy falls under suspicion. Lucy can't believe it, but in a time where the accused are presumed guilty until proven innocent, lawyers aren't permitted to defend their clients, and—if the plague doesn't kill the suspect first—public executions draw a large crowd of spectators, Lucy knows she may never find out what really happened. Unless, that is, she can uncover the truth herself. Determined to do just that, Lucy finds herself venturing out of her expected station and into raucous printers' shops, secretive gypsy camps, the foul streets of London, and even the bowels of Newgate prison on a trail that might lead her straight into the arms of the killer. In her debut novel Murder at Rosamund's Gate, Susanna Calkins seamlessly blends historical detail, romance, and mystery in a moving and highly entertaining tale.

30 review for A Murder at Rosamund's Gate

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    This was a book I requested from Netgalley based on the cover (which despite displaying two of the weird present fashions – "I turn my back on you" and "nearly-headless" – is pretty. I will never learn), and because of an interesting premise. The latter is fairly basic, really. We have a well-off household, that of a magistrate of London, who has a wife, a grown son (and a daughter, but she's irrelevant), and a staff of about four: cook, manservant, lady's maid, chambermaid. This isn't Upstairs D This was a book I requested from Netgalley based on the cover (which despite displaying two of the weird present fashions – "I turn my back on you" and "nearly-headless" – is pretty. I will never learn), and because of an interesting premise. The latter is fairly basic, really. We have a well-off household, that of a magistrate of London, who has a wife, a grown son (and a daughter, but she's irrelevant), and a staff of about four: cook, manservant, lady's maid, chambermaid. This isn't Upstairs Downstairs, though. This is the 17th century, for one thing, and a smaller household. For another thing, the relationship between Family and Staff is … strange. To me, anyway. Lucy is Our Heroine, the chambermaid who has an inappropriate bit of a crush on the Master's son Adam, and whose brother Will is cast under suspicion in a murder. She is a puzzle. In some chapters, she is a proto-Nancy Drew, having intellectual discussions with her master, slipping into places she oughtn't and sneaking into other people's rooms to rustle through their belongings, striking off on undercover investigative operations in which she lies (pretty fluently for a good Christian girl) about who she is and/or what she's about. In other chapters, she seems to be one of the airiest of airheads, getting herself caught out in her suspicious activities, surprised by the same trick over and over, and simply doing the dumbest things possible. See below. The writing is not, mostly, actively bad, in terms of readability; I was tempted to give the book one star, but I didn't hate it violently enough, because I was able to actually finish it without skimming too much. It has its moments. But the writing is, rather often, less than great. It's more tell than show, and somewhat repetitive and redundant. I saw a bit of punctuation abuse/neglect, and at least one editorial gaffe that completely reversed the meaning of its sentence ("They should not be comprehensible even for a young girl" – yes they should). There were some awkward phrasings and word choices that I found very odd … and of course I noted down a few: - "She was holding a cup of tea to the little girl's head", which as Rachel points out sounds like it's a weapon; - "the Mayor ordered all of the stray cats and dogs to be rounded up and executed", which really shouldn't be a funny sentence and yet is – did they get blindfolds and cigarettes? - "I did not ask you to take the hand of God as your own!" I … know what this sentence is supposed to be saying. I don't have a clue what it's actually saying; - "the stone … plopped down" … Maybe it did make a plopping sound when it landed, but "plop" is inherently a funny word, and this shouldn't have been a funny moment (since the stone landed on someone's head and smooshed it). But it made me snort. (I have to drag Mark Twain into a review again: "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug." I should just make a thing to insert into reviews.) But, really, much as I gripe about it, I have read worse, and recently. One example of the lack of attention to detail, though (to return to the griping), is this: @ 49% ... a horrible stench assailed her nose... @ 50% ... a great stench assaulted her nose... @ 51% … the terrible images that had just assaulted her senses… This violence against Lucy's senses related to a visit to Newgate Prison (which took place two weeks after her brother's arrest – and was her first visit. Filial love? Not so much), and on the one hand it's clever to use violent words to underscore the violence of the prison. On the other hand, using the same word twice and a similar word in a third place, all within a very short span, isn't so clever. I have to pull out two more choices the author made, because even with everything else I'm complaining about they struck me as the most absurd things in the book (except for the CPR). One: We reach the climax of the story, and finally the killer is unmasked and confronted. And someone steps in, trying to reason with him. Well, lecture him, really. And he pauses in the middle to wag his finger at the killer. In the middle of what should be a deadly serious, suspenseful, life-or-death scene, "[he] wagged his finger" at the crazed killer as if he'd been a naughty boy and spilled the soup. There are books that make me laugh out loud, and there are books that wring audible sounds of protest from me. This did both. I'll spoilerize Part II of the above groaner, just in case. It did not in fact make me groan; it made me swear at the characters. (view spoiler)[Lucy: "We have to find a way out! Before Lucas returns!" Lucas, you see, is the killer; yes, I saw it coming (it was either him or the reverend, and I liked the reverend as a suspect better); he's gone away for a minute, leaving Lucy with Adam – and the reverend's bloody corpse (I guess Lucas didn't like having a finger wagged in his face, either). Lucas has, in keeping with grand villain tradition, told them how he's going to kill them too, and it's going to happen just about as soon as he comes back, so it would well behoove these two to boogie while they can. Hence Lucy's exclamation. And Adam's response? "In a minute", and they snog. And I really hoped in that moment that Lucas would indeed come back and kill them both. (hide spoiler)] I have to say learned a few things from this book, I must say – because as I read I kept saying "Wait, what?" and having to go off and search out things like whether Quakers forbid alcohol (I thought they did – they don't, and didn't). Because of my protest against the line about Lucy's mother expecting her to marry by 25 – which seemed terribly old for the period – my friend ^ Sub Nomine pulled up an excellent article about marriage in the 1600's among servants. And, too, there's this: "I have seen many a time when an accused man grows flustered, or is tongue-tied, or simply forgets to pose the right questions to his accusers" - which was one of the most succinct and lucid statements I've ever seen as to how and why the legal profession was evolved. It might be silly, but it was a small lightbulb moment for me, and I give full marks for that. So I was properly schooled a few times here, and I promised the book a star for that … My problem with that is if I had trusted the writer more, I wouldn't have felt the need to keep questioning what I was reading, and questioning what I was reading took a lot away from my ability to enjoy the story. Somehow – whether because it really is inaccurate or because I lost faith in the author early on, or a combination of both – I just didn't believe the setting. The truly insupportable incident of the Restoration Era CPR did not help at all. There are some other blatant anachronisms – - "My kids are sick" – not referring to baby goats; - "That is why I run these ideas by you" - But the most glaring of them, at least as far as my notes go: "We … got bloody hammered once". Best I can find online is "hammered" first being used to mean drunk in … 1986. (Granted, it's just online research, but this site has always seemed to be a very reliable resource.) Why not go all out and just say "We got sh**faced"? (ETA: To my surprise, according to the same site "bloody" as an intensifier might be a little early, but is probably okay here. I wonder why I didn't wonder about it when I first wrote this...) I just find it curious that the author chose to set the book in the 1600's, and very specifically 1665-6. This could have taken place anytime there has existed a master-servant relationship - or, even better maybe, where there wasn't, since the master-servant relationship in this book is, for 1666, rather bizarre. Maybe. "When Lucy arrived back at the Hargraves' house, she found that Cook had tied a wreath laced with black ribbon on their door. She saw, too, that rushes had been laid in the streets to muffle the sounds of carts and the footsteps of tradesmen and gawking passersby." This show of mourning is for a dead servant – and one who apparently (in fact) ran off with the silver. I don't know everything; I wouldn't even say I know much. But this stopped me in mid-chapter, because it just seemed extraordinarily unlikely. Or maybe it's not. Maybe it's true that in 1665 the class system wasn't so strictly defined, and the rapport between Lucy and the family she works for wouldn't be so shocking, and it wouldn't be unheard of for a servant to be the object of such a display. Be that as it may, I was still consistently bemused by the relative informality – not to mention the freedom Lucy has to wander hither and yon in her NancyDrewishness. She seemed to be out and about as much as she was home doing her job. (As, for example: "As Lucy wandered, she found herself veering away from town and toward the open fields and glens…She looked around, realizing only at that moment that she had wandered right to Rosamund's Gate, where Bessie had met her fate." Sorry, what? I don't care how zoned out you are in your grief, if your best friend has just been murdered, and you know of at least a couple of other girls who met the same fate, if you're a woman in any time period you do not lose track of your surroundings, particularly to the extent that you meander off alone into an open field and in fact right up to the site of your friend's death. You don't. Ever. And if you do, you might as well stick a bow on your head and hang a tag around your neck saying "For: The Killer. From: Stupid".) My overall impression of Rosamund's Gate is that two different manuscripts sat together on a desk and the pages became interleaved in chunks. One storyline, which dominates the first part of the book, is about a serial killer going about killing women in historic London, and the plucky chambermaid who tries to find out who it is. The other, taking over most of the second part, is about London in a time of plague. Once the second plotline comes in, the first pretty much tucks itself up out of the way. Nobody thinks about the murders, or talks about them – the suspect that had been taken up is released; the family leaves the city, and is fully occupied in mourning the dead and keeping themselves alive. Murder is irrelevant when so many people are dying all over London, and the point is even made that criminals go free because their accusers or the jury pool or the judges have died. (This section is one reason for the second star – it was very well done. Not well integrated, but of itself well done.) The mystery manuscript seems to be finished with. Then – a few months in book-time, a few chapters in reader-time – it is, abruptly, as though the book suddenly remembers that the killer hasn't been revealed, and all at once there is a flurry of activity to wrap up the mystery plotline. It was obvious that there was a lot of research into the period, but it came out in bursts, like a child at the beach running back to show parents the cool shell or piece of seaweed or rock she found. The eye portraits, for example: they were fascinating, and sound beautiful and mysterious – but the author admits that such things were "not popularized until the late 18th century". So – why, then? They were very cool – but they were not integral to the plot, and in fact did not make a huge amount of sense, as it turned out; so why shoehorn them in? In an author's note at the end of the book, Ms. Calkins says this: "At times, I took minor liberties for the purposes of creativity and readability, using far more modern phrasing and spelling than people would have used in seventeenth-century England." Well. I'll leave it up to individual readers whether the liberties were "minor" or not, and necessary or not; I think my opinion is pretty clear. I doubt there's a sane writer in the world who would try to use authentic seventeenth-century spelling (such as it was) or phrasing throughout their novel; of course it would be unreadable. But for my writing my goal is/will be to maintain a consistency, create a flavor of the time and place I'm writing about, and do my damnedest to avoid anything that will pop up in a reader's face to remind her that, after all, this is just a bunch of words on paper (or whatever) telling a tale that just came out of my head. A story is – unless you're Guy Kay – a fragile thing, like a soap bubble being coaxed into being, and it doesn't take very much to pop the bubble. A final kvetch – would it be too much to ask to have some passing comment as to who Rosamund was and why the Gate is named for her?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    I recently finished an ARC of this wonderful debut novel and I absolutely loved it! The history was spot on and the mystery was even better. Calkins is a superb storyteller and she left me guessing until the very end. Suffice it to say, I can't wait to find out what Lucy Campion does next! On a different note, I was particularly impressed with the care that Dr. Calkins took with her research. At first, I had expected the stereotypical "upstairs-downstairs" relationship between Lucy and the Hargra I recently finished an ARC of this wonderful debut novel and I absolutely loved it! The history was spot on and the mystery was even better. Calkins is a superb storyteller and she left me guessing until the very end. Suffice it to say, I can't wait to find out what Lucy Campion does next! On a different note, I was particularly impressed with the care that Dr. Calkins took with her research. At first, I had expected the stereotypical "upstairs-downstairs" relationship between Lucy and the Hargraves. But, this was a very different time period and a very different setting (house, not mansion; different class of people), and as the reader will see, the relationships differ from the stereotype. I found it refreshing and, after some research of my own, I found it to be completely appropriate. I also appreciated the "historic note" at the end and the authors choice to modernize the language of the time. Strictly historic language would've made the dialogue nearly unreadable! Five stars. Bring on book two!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chaitra

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I think I was in a charitable mood when I gave this a 2. Because a day later, I can't think of any one aspect of the book I actually liked, except for the cover, which was what made me request it at NetGalley. I still think the cover is beautiful. Rosamund's Gate is a start of a series of mystery books set in mid-17th century England, featuring a chamber-maid called Lucy Campion. As a mystery it's not very engaging. A number of women get killed in a rather grisly fashion, but no one makes a conn I think I was in a charitable mood when I gave this a 2. Because a day later, I can't think of any one aspect of the book I actually liked, except for the cover, which was what made me request it at NetGalley. I still think the cover is beautiful. Rosamund's Gate is a start of a series of mystery books set in mid-17th century England, featuring a chamber-maid called Lucy Campion. As a mystery it's not very engaging. A number of women get killed in a rather grisly fashion, but no one makes a connection between the deaths. Lucy's fellow servant is the next in line to be killed, and someone very close to Lucy is blamed for it. What is Lucy to do but to head out and snoop? She has an ally in the son of her master, who is handily cute and taken with her intelligence (evidence of which is not shown, but the book tells us so repeatedly). This would have actually been an ok storyline, if it hadn't been so flimsy. It's as if Calkins runs out of anything to make the mystery more complicated, so she works in the Great Plague and the London Fire as well. The plague basically halts all the mystery proceedings, and leaves us with the romance. Which was not very good. It also doesn't help that the first and only person I thought of as the killer turned out to be the killer, and committed the crimes for exactly the same motive I thought of. The reason is neither radical nor creative, but something I've read in a lot of other books. I know not very much of the period in which the book is set, which makes me the wrong person to criticize any oddities or historical inaccuracies. I can only point out that I was taken out of the story again and again by the fact that every good character acts modern and enlightened. My problem is also the irritation I felt at the Mary Sue main character. Lucy is brash, perfect (achieved only by her lack of either apology or consequences for any of her brash actions). She's a snoop even before she has any reason to snoop. She is also, above all else, entitled. I can't actually conceive of a chamber-maid in any period who would act so ungrateful and snippy with her master's son, no less, and still be paraded around as a paragon of female virtue, never mind not getting booted out. There's another part to it - Calkins shows us repeatedly that this particular household is not the rule, but the exception. And, the exception is so out of the period that it doesn't sit well at all. Another sore point to me was the romance. (view spoiler)[After pages and pages of incessant will-he-won't-he type of whining, eventually Lucy says she doesn't really know how long she'll stay with the household. Did she want a quick lay after all and not the marriage the man of her dreams Adam was finally offering? If so what was the point of that bullshit then? (hide spoiler)] I don't think I'm going to read another Lucy Campion mystery, not unless several people whose opinion I trust say it's good. Edited to Add: Just because the author deliberately sidestepped chronology (she explains so in her author's note), is it ok for the book to be so out of the period? It is obvious she wanted to write a novel with modern sensibilities, so I really can't get a sense of why this book needed to be set in mid-17th century. Sure, the plague, but she doesn't utilize the plague for anything other than showing us how great and saintly her heroine is. In any case, I'm sure England of any period would have some event of the sort...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot.... I have mixed feelings about Susanna Calkins' A Murder at Rosamund's Gate. While I enjoyed the story both for its creativity and originality, there were aspects of it that didn't quite live up to my expectations. Please don't misunderstand, Calkins displays a wonderful imagination as well as a keen eye for intriguing subject matter within these pages, I simply feel she has room to grow as a storyteller Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot.... I have mixed feelings about Susanna Calkins' A Murder at Rosamund's Gate. While I enjoyed the story both for its creativity and originality, there were aspects of it that didn't quite live up to my expectations. Please don't misunderstand, Calkins displays a wonderful imagination as well as a keen eye for intriguing subject matter within these pages, I simply feel she has room to grow as a storyteller. Personally I like more complex characters than I found here. The cast of A Murder of Rosamund's Gate is interesting enough, but they come off a little flat and static. It isn't something I think will bother the casual reader, but think those with more particular tastes might have difficulty with such simple, cookie-cutter characterizations. The other thing that rubbed at me was the exceedingly casual relationship between the Magistrate's family and their servants. The familiarity they exhibit towards one another just didn't feel authentic to me and proved a significant distraction. I realize this is something of a necessity for the sake of the story, but I can't say I found it appealing. Since we are on the subject I want to address the issue some readers seem to be having with the modern terminology Calkins uses throughout A Murder at Rosamund's Gate. I love historic fiction and understand why it is ruffling feathers, but I think there is a difference between authors who make this error in ignorance as opposed to those who make an intentional decision for the benefit of their readers. Though I did mark the language during my reading, I find I am inclined to overlook it as Calkins took the time to explain herself in her notes - something I believe speaks to the personal love she has for the history that inspired her work, her professionalism and the respect she has for her audience. Now what did I like about this book? I felt the mystery itself well-imagined and not entirely obvious which is quite an achievement for any author let alone one with only a single title to her name. I also felt the horrors of the Great Plague appropriately depicted as were the scenes that took place inside Newgate prison. No fluffy, vague, tiptoeing here and morbid as it sounds I will always appreciate conformity to historic fact over gentler fallacies. Would I recommend Calkins' work? Certainly especially to those who enjoyed or think they might enjoy God Save the King or The Emperor's Conspiracy. Will I read her again? I fully intend to, rumor has it she already has a sequel in the works. I'm not above admitting it has a few hiccups, but still Calkins impressed me and I am most interested to see where she will go next.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    Yesterday when I began this novel it was just an ok read for me. Today, however, I have to give it a four star rating. Not because it was a good mystery, although it did keep me guessing, but because of the characters. I really liked Lucy and Adam. I liked the characterization of the year 1665, the way things were, and how things were done. It all brought a good story together and one I would continue reading about in the next installment.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bee

    A great premise that did not live up to its potential. It started off fairly decently and was a historical setting (Restoration England) different than my usual British mystery fare, but too many irritating issues kept me from enjoying this book overall. One of my biggest pet peeves happened repeatedly: unrealistically precocious heroine that made foolish, nosy decisions that brought her into impossible situations, but the author conveniently wrote in easy escapes. Case(s) in point, (view spoile A great premise that did not live up to its potential. It started off fairly decently and was a historical setting (Restoration England) different than my usual British mystery fare, but too many irritating issues kept me from enjoying this book overall. One of my biggest pet peeves happened repeatedly: unrealistically precocious heroine that made foolish, nosy decisions that brought her into impossible situations, but the author conveniently wrote in easy escapes. Case(s) in point, (view spoiler)[ when she blatantly ignores the housekeeper's warnings about the lecherous jerk who 'hires' Lucy for the day, only to -- of course -- find herself almost raped by him after being a total idiot, but he conveniently dies at that very moment. Really? Another teeth-gritting episode was when she and Adam were trapped by Lucas in the catacombs, and he LEAVES THEM ALONE (yeah, right) to go check on noises above. Of course, these two instantly free themselves but instead of high-tailing it out of there, they linger to make out. Again, really? And was anyone else confused why Adam was so helpless against Lucas physically? I mean, did they not describe Lucas in the beginning of the book as being rather a soft fellow? That felt bizarre to me. (hide spoiler)] I felt the murderer was pretty obvious early on, too, yet the author seemed to insist on her characters (and perhaps, readers?) being totally blind. (view spoiler)[ So Lucy kept suspecting Adam initially, right? Yet never even considered Lucas? Not even when he so obviously dropped massive hints with his religious fervor in the church that previous time, something about helping do God's will? Ugh. Duh. (hide spoiler)] I think the final frustration with this all-over-the-place novel was the sudden halt to any murder-solving storyline to immerse everyone in a heavy plot about the black plague. Why? It felt like two books suddenly colliding in one plot. Messily, I might add. One final thought: (view spoiler)[ While I was glad that Lucy and Bessie, etc., had such kind and caring employers, the realist in me couldn't reconcile the ease that a servant girl ended up with the master's son. I just don't think it would happen that smoothly, and was yet again an instance of the plot conveniently allowing the heroine to do basically whatever she wanted. Speaking of, don't even get me started on the absurd scene where she miraculously, for a young 1600s servant girl, 'remembers' her brother explaining resuscitation techniques to her, and manages to perform CPR on her employer, thus saving his life... (hide spoiler)] I don't feel the need to continue this series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    nidah05 (SleepDreamWrite)

    This one's a 4.5 for me. I found myself liking how the story played out. While yes it does have a murder mystery, throughout, you get to know the characters and what the setting is like. I like that the murder doesn't happen early but the story takes its time to get going. Took my time reading this at a slow pace. The writing was pretty good as well. Moments where I like Lucy, Adam, etc and other times you're like, guys, communication is your friend, why don't you use that instead of oh I don't k This one's a 4.5 for me. I found myself liking how the story played out. While yes it does have a murder mystery, throughout, you get to know the characters and what the setting is like. I like that the murder doesn't happen early but the story takes its time to get going. Took my time reading this at a slow pace. The writing was pretty good as well. Moments where I like Lucy, Adam, etc and other times you're like, guys, communication is your friend, why don't you use that instead of oh I don't know, assuming things. I also like that the family Lucy works for is likable. At first I thought it was going to be a different kind of tone, but no, it honestly surprised me. Especially near the end, I was like ohhh you got to be kidding me, just when I was liking that character. Well, I can honestly say I didn't see that coming. Thanks for that book. Looking forward to the next book in the series. Love the background on the cover with the light and dark colors.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    D-N-F For a story set in restoration England (mid-1600's), this story had no authenticity to the period as far as I was concerned, and the writing wasn't strong to keep me going further even with the historic inaccuracies.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Light

    You're going to want to get in early on this series (bound to be a great series)...as Susanna Calkins weaves an intriguing tale set in early England. The characters are well developed and leave you wanting more. One learns interesting historical facts which fit neatly into the pleasurable story telling. It's a smart story which left me feeling smarter for having read it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie Mercer

    I love historical fiction. Love, love, love. Ariana Franklin's Mistress in the Art of Death is one of my favourite series, brilliantly written with a fantastic plot. I've been looking for something to fill the void, and so was excited to get sent this ARC. I also admit, I'm one of those people who generally guesses if I'll like books based on the publisher, and while I admittedly haven't read much of Minotaur, I love St. Martin's Press (no they didn't pay me to say that, I get nothing for it. I I love historical fiction. Love, love, love. Ariana Franklin's Mistress in the Art of Death is one of my favourite series, brilliantly written with a fantastic plot. I've been looking for something to fill the void, and so was excited to get sent this ARC. I also admit, I'm one of those people who generally guesses if I'll like books based on the publisher, and while I admittedly haven't read much of Minotaur, I love St. Martin's Press (no they didn't pay me to say that, I get nothing for it. I mean, feel free to send me books, but really, I won't, and I just generally like them as a publisher). Anyways, so I was sent A Murder at Rosamund's Gate, and lo, I had my holiday reading. Except I read it before the holidays. Oops. I think first off I'm guessing they're setting this up as a series, though I could very easily be off in guessing that because the book stands pretty solidly as a stand-alone. Generally I really loved the books. The characters are endearing and well written - Lucy Campion is fun heroine because she's not really a heroine. The other characters aren't just there as props, you get drawn into the class politics that permeated 17th century England (A topic I admittedly can always get behind) and the story itself rather cleverly brings together a murder mystery, socio-economic politics, religious drama (The Quakers are coming!) and the looming of the plague. Calkins does so in a way that doesn't make it seem like she's just throwing it all in because she has to, but really makes it into a wonderful story that doesn't feel at all crammed together. Calkins also clearly is a excellent storyteller with a knack for character writing. I'd wholeheartedly recommend this book to a pretty wide variety of people - personally I loved it and it both met, and exceeded my expectations of what I wanted from it. *** I won this book through Goodreads - all opinions are my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tara Chevrestt

    A good yarn and a fascinating look at life in England in a time when things began to change...social classes, positions, servants' rights...all because of plague and fire. There was also Quakers and I found this an intriguing look at how the law operated then. The story is a murder mystery really, though, at its heart, all told from the POV of a serving girl Lucy. Women all around are being murdered in fields. Stories and penny books claim each was a servant, lustful, wanton, giving their good aw A good yarn and a fascinating look at life in England in a time when things began to change...social classes, positions, servants' rights...all because of plague and fire. There was also Quakers and I found this an intriguing look at how the law operated then. The story is a murder mystery really, though, at its heart, all told from the POV of a serving girl Lucy. Women all around are being murdered in fields. Stories and penny books claim each was a servant, lustful, wanton, giving their good away to men who discard them...partly true, but could all of them be related? Really liked the heroine. She was spunky, yet respectful. She helps her brother, vows to get to the truth of the murders, asks questions, goes "undercover", helps when the plague hits, and has an overall charm that is most appealing. Full review on Book Babe: http://wwwbookbabe.blogspot.com/2013/...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    Read my full review @ http://bit.ly/14gFHBW My opinion: Initial feelings on this book is that I absolutely loved this debut. I must admit that I disagree with some of the reviewers that the mystery was weak in this book. Several murders occurred and though, in my opinion, the main storyline was not on solving the mystery, there was a major mystery to be solved. I loved the way the author showed the differences between not only the classes, but between the acceptance and expectation of men/women. Read my full review @ http://bit.ly/14gFHBW My opinion: Initial feelings on this book is that I absolutely loved this debut. I must admit that I disagree with some of the reviewers that the mystery was weak in this book. Several murders occurred and though, in my opinion, the main storyline was not on solving the mystery, there was a major mystery to be solved. I loved the way the author showed the differences between not only the classes, but between the acceptance and expectation of men/women.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Light

    A murder set in 17th century England that combines the intrique and suspence of a murder mystery with an real feel for the tone and atmosphere of the time. Susanna Calkins marries an uncanny historical ear with a brillaint sense of telling an engaging story.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Time Ferrell

    I think I will add this to my private library. It was an absolute thriller. I had no idea what was happening the whole time!! Cute little love story as well.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lina Hansen

    I was intrigued by the setting of this novel, for once not ancient Rome, Regency or the Victorians. That alone is worth a star. Calkins has done her research, and the whole novel comes across as reasonably authentic (I did not check or follow up), which for me meant another star.There's a mystery, there's pestilence and this is definitely one of the more engaging novels I have read recently. Perhaps it was the authenticity of the voice and setting that stopped me from connecting closer to the ch I was intrigued by the setting of this novel, for once not ancient Rome, Regency or the Victorians. That alone is worth a star. Calkins has done her research, and the whole novel comes across as reasonably authentic (I did not check or follow up), which for me meant another star.There's a mystery, there's pestilence and this is definitely one of the more engaging novels I have read recently. Perhaps it was the authenticity of the voice and setting that stopped me from connecting closer to the characters. Perhaps it was the telling. Somehow, I saw them through a filter, wasn't quite there. They never fully came alive for me enough to fear for the protagonists. Hence the four instead of five stars. Thinking back to it, yes it was mostly the voice. It was a tick too authentic for me. Still, I might read more novels in the series. Won't be in a massive hurry about it, though. The review sort of dangles between three and four stars, but given the obvious effort involved here, I thought i should be flexible. So there.

  16. 4 out of 5

    ☕️Kimberly

    3.5 The cover of A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate spoke to me and the synopsis with its promise of a mystery sealed the deal. Susanna Calkins debut novel shares a wonderful murder mystery set in 1665 London with a Nancy Drew vibe. A young chambermaid unearths clues regarding a serial killer who is goes after young woman. Lucy Campion is a chambermaid in the Hargraves home and she and the other servants are truly blessed to live in a home where the residents treat them more like family at a time period 3.5 The cover of A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate spoke to me and the synopsis with its promise of a mystery sealed the deal. Susanna Calkins debut novel shares a wonderful murder mystery set in 1665 London with a Nancy Drew vibe. A young chambermaid unearths clues regarding a serial killer who is goes after young woman. Lucy Campion is a chambermaid in the Hargraves home and she and the other servants are truly blessed to live in a home where the residents treat them more like family at a time period when young ladies are accosted and a servant can be fired at the drop of a hat. Her employer is the local Magistrate and his son a young lawyer. The tale shares with us the murders of young woman, the London courts and the horrors of the plague all through the eyes of our young maid. Lucy becomes someone of a young Nancy Drew as she tries to clear a loved one’s name and discover who killed her friend. There is a little side romance which I found quite interesting. The tale that unfolds was suspenseful with clever twists as Lucy uncovered clues and suspects. The Hargraves home is quite an unusual one especially for the time period but I’d like to think that this occurred more often than those of society at the time let on. The servants are almost regarded as family, indeed taking meals with the family when guests are not present. While this is certainly not the norm I find it hard to believe that all households treated their servants as property, beat them and that young ladies regularly fell victim to the master’s advances. The Magistrate read to his servants at night, and Lucy loved these moments, in fact she asked questions and voice opinions. She has an inquisitive mind, and questions the workings of the legal system, the local law enforcement and decides to look into the murders herself. Adam the magistrate’s son, a young lawyer delighted and confused me all at the same time. His treatment of Lucy wavered like a flag blowing in the wind and the author explains him rather well but I wanted to throttle him more than once. We had a delightful list of suspects, servants and secondary characters that helped keep me guessing regarding the serial killer. The characters were nicely developed and Lucy herself felt very real. This tale is a story within a story within a story. On one hand we have a murder mystery and a romance and in the other we have London with its political time period, the plague and its flawed court systems. While the author did a wonderful job of weaving them all together and the pacing was well done, it also left some of the threads thin. She beautifully described London, the markets, and the feelings of the people but the mystery did not always take center stage as these side stories got in the way. While for the most part historically accurate the author readily admits to using some modern language and changing some dates and I think her reasoning was valid although at first I did find these things jarring. The twists and turns regarding suspects were suspenseful and perhaps my favorite thread throughout the tale. I found Lucy’s detective work clever and often feared she would be discovered. The romance was sweet, complicated and appealed to my romantic side. The tale accurately depicted the upper classes opinions of servants; Quakers, the courts and the church giving us an inside look at the Restoration period. Calkins did a nice job with the murder, adding clever twists. I solved this before Lucy but had to wait for the motive to be revealed. The reveal was quite climatic, as were other threads as they closed keeping me turning the pages late into the night. The ending closed most threads allowing the reader to comfortably fill in the pieces. ARC provided by publisher for unbiased review See more of my reviews @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer

  17. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    In 1665, Lucy Campion is a chambermaid in the household of a London magistrate. He is an honorable man, and the family is kind to their staff, even allowing them to join the family at evening meals when there are no guests and encouraging Lucy's participation in the after-supper discussion of texts the magistrate reads out loud. This routine is disrupted, however, when a series of young, pregnant serving girls is found murdered and the crimes hit too close to home. Lucy is determined to find jus In 1665, Lucy Campion is a chambermaid in the household of a London magistrate. He is an honorable man, and the family is kind to their staff, even allowing them to join the family at evening meals when there are no guests and encouraging Lucy's participation in the after-supper discussion of texts the magistrate reads out loud. This routine is disrupted, however, when a series of young, pregnant serving girls is found murdered and the crimes hit too close to home. Lucy is determined to find justice and exonerate the innocent, lest the dead keep haunting her dreams. Her quest is interrupted by plague and complicated by social hierarchy as she risks her own life and virtue to uncover the killer. There were enough twists and red herrings in the story to keep me from guessing the killer--always a plus. My one quibble is that Adam, the magistrate's grown son, is a bit uneven in characterization, especially related to his actions and treatment of Lucy. Yes, he is drawn toward her, and yes, he feels honor-bound to leave her alone, but his behavior is a pendulum that swings a little too far for plausibility, in my opinion. Still, I have high hopes that their relationship will be better developed over time in subsequent novels. I received a free advance reading copy (ARC) of this book from Bookbrowse.com, and I'm excited to discover a new mystery author to follow, for this is the first in a new series by debut author Susanna Calkins. I really appreciated the Historical Note at the end of the book, detailing how the author worked to make the novel historically accurate aside from some minor tweaks to things like the duties of magistrates and constables, as well as updates to the spelling and phrasing. For readers' advisors: character and setting doorways, primarily, with story secondary. There was no sex and only very mild historical swearing, to the best of my recollection.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ivy

    Lucy is a very interesting character. She is very curious about the world around her and why things are the way they are. She is always wanting to learn new to her things. When her friend is murdered she grieves for her but also wants justice for her. When the police arrest someone whom she knows could not have done the crime she tries to piece together who could have killed her friend. Even though she is limited by the classes on what she can and can not do she is able to put the clues together Lucy is a very interesting character. She is very curious about the world around her and why things are the way they are. She is always wanting to learn new to her things. When her friend is murdered she grieves for her but also wants justice for her. When the police arrest someone whom she knows could not have done the crime she tries to piece together who could have killed her friend. Even though she is limited by the classes on what she can and can not do she is able to put the clues together and find the killer. My only problem with this books is that is seemed to be more concerned with the history of the era and not the murder. It took forever to even get to the actual story. The author seemed more concerned with getting the history right then writing the mystery. How did knowing about what the characters did when the plague hit London have to do with finding the killer other then to delay the finding of the killer and turning the murder into a cold case? It was almost like the author had to find a way to fill the pages so she inserted some history to make the page count higher. If you take out all of the history then you would have a very short novella.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karyn

    I love a good historical mystery, and this is one. The sense of place and history was strong - despite the changes to the language it felt like an immersion into the late 1600s. The mystery was great - there wasn't a clear path from crime to villain, but there were enough clues to get you there. I really liked Lucy as a protagonist. She's naive, sheltered, and not very well educated. What she has going for her is just her determination and willingness to throw herself into every possible situatio I love a good historical mystery, and this is one. The sense of place and history was strong - despite the changes to the language it felt like an immersion into the late 1600s. The mystery was great - there wasn't a clear path from crime to villain, but there were enough clues to get you there. I really liked Lucy as a protagonist. She's naive, sheltered, and not very well educated. What she has going for her is just her determination and willingness to throw herself into every possible situation that could bring her more information. She is what she's frequently called- a sweet girl. She is almost always looking for the best in people - except, maybe Adam. My only real issue was that towards the end it felt like Calkins was just piling on the historical tragedies. The plague? The great fire? Really? I'm not saying that these wouldn't have happened at that time, more that they were narratively unnecessary. The climax was dramatic enough on its own. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and look forward to more from this author.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    This was a rather predictable story with unremarkable characters and writing that was neither horrible nor stellar. Overall the book was a quick read but not something that stands out in any special way. There are a few events and speeches that seem very unlikely and the class structure gets muddled in places. The main character wants to jump in the Thames to clean herself off...that seemed unlikely. But I did like that the plague made an appearance and the author handled a trial nicely and impart This was a rather predictable story with unremarkable characters and writing that was neither horrible nor stellar. Overall the book was a quick read but not something that stands out in any special way. There are a few events and speeches that seem very unlikely and the class structure gets muddled in places. The main character wants to jump in the Thames to clean herself off...that seemed unlikely. But I did like that the plague made an appearance and the author handled a trial nicely and imparted informative historical details along the way. I didn't care at all for the love interest of the main character and the way the relationship played out at the end of the book. I'm not a fan of romance but I think this is going to be a book enjoyed most by those who are.

  21. 4 out of 5

    PopcornReads

    I love good historical mysteries so, once I discovered that Susanna Calkins has a doctorate in British history, I had to check out A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate. It’s Book #1 in the new Lucy Campion Mysteries series. I rationalized that Ms. Calkins would either bring 17th century London to life or turn it into a dry historical lecture. Thankfully, she has brought a wealth of realistic period detail without dry and boring exposition. This debut novel is a mystery of the first order with plenty of s I love good historical mysteries so, once I discovered that Susanna Calkins has a doctorate in British history, I had to check out A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate. It’s Book #1 in the new Lucy Campion Mysteries series. I rationalized that Ms. Calkins would either bring 17th century London to life or turn it into a dry historical lecture. Thankfully, she has brought a wealth of realistic period detail without dry and boring exposition. This debut novel is a mystery of the first order with plenty of suspense and twists, as well as a well developed character study. If you like historical novels, whether or not you like mysteries, I think you’ll like this one. Read the rest of my review at http://popcornreads.com/?p=5792.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Icewineanne

    The first third of this book was great. The second third put aside the mystery that was introduced in the beginning of the story and concentrated on problems that existed in London around 1665. These included inequality problems; sex, class, religious and political. The story also focused on the legal system at the time and the plague. Towards the end, the author must have panicked, realizing that she had to resolve the mystery she had introduced, so she wrapped everything up in the last 20 page The first third of this book was great. The second third put aside the mystery that was introduced in the beginning of the story and concentrated on problems that existed in London around 1665. These included inequality problems; sex, class, religious and political. The story also focused on the legal system at the time and the plague. Towards the end, the author must have panicked, realizing that she had to resolve the mystery she had introduced, so she wrapped everything up in the last 20 pages. The history of London during this period was interesting but there was not a lot of new information presented. The mystery itself was fairly lame and the final outcome felt rushed and tacked on. Glad I borrowed this book from the library!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andy French

    Set in 17th century Europe, this captivating novel will appeal to history lovers as well as those simply looking for a suspenseful and intriguing mystery. The characters are interesting and multi-dimensional, the story is terrific, and the settings inspire the reader to visualize another time and place. Highly recommended!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Awallens

    I figured out who committed the murders pretty early on, but the detail is what made this book. From what it was like to have the plague to servant and master relations to the great fire, the details made this book great.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Eustacia Tan

    Do you know, when I looked at the cover, I saw "Murder at Rosamund's Cafe". And then I wondered why there wasn't a cafe in this story. Ok, so just so we're (I'm) clear, this says "gate", which makes the title a lot more relevant to the plot. In this novel/mystery, Lucy, a maid at the magistrate's house, is drawn into the murder when her best friend/fellow housemaid Bessie is killed, and her brother William is accused of the murder. At the same time, she has to contend with her growing feelings fo Do you know, when I looked at the cover, I saw "Murder at Rosamund's Cafe". And then I wondered why there wasn't a cafe in this story. Ok, so just so we're (I'm) clear, this says "gate", which makes the title a lot more relevant to the plot. In this novel/mystery, Lucy, a maid at the magistrate's house, is drawn into the murder when her best friend/fellow housemaid Bessie is killed, and her brother William is accused of the murder. At the same time, she has to contend with her growing feelings for the son of the magistrate, Adam. And of course, there's the plague to deal with. To be honest, the murder mystery felt like a subplot. There weren't that much clues, and the mystery is solved by a bunch of coincidences - and the testimony of one person. I think this novel was more about England in the age of Restoration London. There are times when the life of the Londoners interrupt the mystery part. So if you're expecting a "pure" mystery story, you may be a little disappointed. All the characters are likable, although Lucy reminds me of a Mary-Sue sometimes. She's one of those smart (smarter than girls of her "class"), sassy girls who don't see themselves as attractive. Thankfully, there weren't hordes of guys after her. I wouldn't have been able to stand it if there were. Also working as a redeeming factor, she feels like a real character. There were times when I thought "Mary-Sue!", but most of the time, I could think of her as "Lucy". The ending was both predictable and unpredictable. I didn't manage to guess who the murderer was, I could totally see the state of Lucy's love-life. Then again, there were only two ways that her relationship could end up. A sweet story, that happens to have a murder in it. Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review First posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    I hadn't realized, until reading A Murder at Rosamund's Gate, how much I had missed reading historical mysteries. There's an unpredictable nature to them that can't be replicated except maybe in speculative fiction, in the fact that I am never familiar enough with the times past to fully know what to expect. The characters, the technology, the daily life activities are all coated in a sort of fog that I can only pierce through with the author's help. Susanna Calkins definitely succeeded here in t I hadn't realized, until reading A Murder at Rosamund's Gate, how much I had missed reading historical mysteries. There's an unpredictable nature to them that can't be replicated except maybe in speculative fiction, in the fact that I am never familiar enough with the times past to fully know what to expect. The characters, the technology, the daily life activities are all coated in a sort of fog that I can only pierce through with the author's help. Susanna Calkins definitely succeeded here in taking me back to the 17th century, and making it real to me. While the novel isn't overflowing with details about the period, it was just enough to create a vivid picture in my mind without slowing the story. The political and religious setting was done well, too, I felt. I was transported in time and pushed to imagine what it would have been living then and there. I immediately warmed up to Lucy, even though she was at times stupidly brave (but then, most heroines are!) There was also a great cast of characters around her, and though I sometimes felt that we didn't really get to know them, I enjoyed the diversity in class, age, and all. I also appreciated that the drama was light; the novel wasn't about numerous ohmygod-twists and ridiculous misunderstandings, but rather straightforward without being boring or too predictable. Also, not very heavy on romance, which was surprising in a nice way. There's just a glimpse of it to make the story more pleasant and human, but it wasn't overwhelming the story. All in all, I quite enjoyed Susanna Calkins' first novel. Her writing was smooth and easy, and her decision to modernize the language (which doesn't always worked) helped me believe the story and the characters. I will be looking out for her next novel, which for now seems to be coming out next April.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Guy

    A Murder At Rosamund's Gate is the first book in a great historical cozy mystery series. Lucy Champion is a chambermaid in Restoration England. I fell in love instantly with this book, much like I did Sam Thomas's The Midwife's Tale. The attention to detail in this book is fantastic. The mystery almost takes a back burner to that detail, but don't let that keep you from reading this book. It is wonderful. It paints a unique picture of the upstairs downstairs world of England at the time, in a hous A Murder At Rosamund's Gate is the first book in a great historical cozy mystery series. Lucy Champion is a chambermaid in Restoration England. I fell in love instantly with this book, much like I did Sam Thomas's The Midwife's Tale. The attention to detail in this book is fantastic. The mystery almost takes a back burner to that detail, but don't let that keep you from reading this book. It is wonderful. It paints a unique picture of the upstairs downstairs world of England at the time, in a household that is a little bit progressive. The plot is a little slow at the beginning, but I think perhaps it is the author's way of letting the reader get to know the characters and the household. Lucy finds herself trying to solve the mystery of her friend Bessie's killer and clear her brother's name, as he's charged with her murder. While she does this there is a touch of romance that starts between her and the magistrate's son Adam. This is an unlikely romance as Adam is above her in station, but you really have to read to see how things develop there. As for the mystery, I love how the author really led you to believe it was one of the other characters that was the killer, but when you reached the end, you found out that you were wrong. I'm really eager to see how Susanna takes this series. Lucy is a very strong heroine, smarter than your average chambermaid/ladies maid from that period, which is 1665. I also want to see how her relationship with Adam progresses as the series continues.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura Lee

    Debut novel, enjoyed very much. London, 1660s. Lucy is a young maid, hoping for elevation in the world. She is fortunate she works for a good family. There is a series of deaths that seem related. Lucy gets involved in finding the killer. Story pretty much keeps you guessing, and besides the mystery there is also romance. That keeps you guessing, too! Then don't forget the Great Fire and the Plague! This happens to be the first in what is now a series. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the s Debut novel, enjoyed very much. London, 1660s. Lucy is a young maid, hoping for elevation in the world. She is fortunate she works for a good family. There is a series of deaths that seem related. Lucy gets involved in finding the killer. Story pretty much keeps you guessing, and besides the mystery there is also romance. That keeps you guessing, too! Then don't forget the Great Fire and the Plague! This happens to be the first in what is now a series. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the second book at the bookstore. Of course, I scooped it up!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shyanmei

    A good read indeed. If you are into mysteries in English style, this is THE book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Three and a half stars: An intriguing historical murder mystery. A harsh knocking disturbs the household. Young Lucy, the chambermaid, opens the door to find a stern constable at the door. He is requesting to speak to her master, the magistrate, immediately. Lucy and the rest of the servants murmur amongst themselves trying to determine the nature of the early morning visit. Soon enough they learn the truth. A young maid was found murdered, her body discarded in an empty field. Rumor has it she w Three and a half stars: An intriguing historical murder mystery. A harsh knocking disturbs the household. Young Lucy, the chambermaid, opens the door to find a stern constable at the door. He is requesting to speak to her master, the magistrate, immediately. Lucy and the rest of the servants murmur amongst themselves trying to determine the nature of the early morning visit. Soon enough they learn the truth. A young maid was found murdered, her body discarded in an empty field. Rumor has it she was carrying someone's baby. The unsolved murder gnaws at Lucy's mind, but she puts it behind her and proceeds about her duties. Lucy begins to notice that her best friend and fellow maid, Bessie, is acting strangely. Then tragedy strikes, Bessie is murdered. Lucy is determined to find the killer, especially after a reckless accusation lands someone in jail who is dear to her. Can Lucy trust her master's son, Adam, to help her solve the crime or is her perhaps the perpetrator? What I Liked: *I do enjoy historical fiction, but I don't usually read in this time period, I am more prone to go with more modern books set in the 19th and 20th centuries. So I was pleased that this read was very informative on life and events that took place in the 17th century. The story opens in London in the year 1665. I very much appreciated that Ms. Calkins not only did a great deal of research to make this read authentic, but she also wove in real events that occurred during the eighteenth month period that the book recounts. I was especially fascinated by the outbreak of the Plague in 1666 and later the Great Fire that swept through and nearly burned London to the ground. *The main character, Lucy, is an eighteen year old chambermaid who has the privilege of working in a kindly home with a good master. Even though she has a good employer, it is very clear just how difficult life was for women in this era, especially those born into the working classes or those in poverty. As a woman, you had very little rights and you could only hope that you would marry someone who would treat you with kindness. So often young maids were forced into sexual relations and impregnated by masters and sons of their employers, only to be discarded and abandoned once the child arrived. A servant's life was difficult, and I appreciated that this book enlightened me a bit more about the lives of those who worked as servants during this era. *At the heart of this book is an interesting little murder mystery that honestly kept me guessing until the end. I was indeed surprised when the culprit was unmasked, it was a bit of a shocker. There are plenty of suspects and motives and I liked that I was continually conjecturing who the murderer was. I enjoyed that this book was an educational historical with a suspenseful mystery. *I admired young Lucy's courage and spirit. As a maid, she refuses to accept things as they are and endeavors to help find the killer. In addition, she also chooses to better herself by learning to read and conducting herself in a ladylike manner. Though, I must admit, there were times when I thought her behavior went a little too far as she put herself into compromising positions, which at times I thought were a little unbelievable. Nevertheless, Lucy is an extremely likable heroine and I found myself rooting for her the entire way. *I enjoyed the inclusion of some interesting historical tidbits throughout. For instance, in the story gentlemen often carried small painted portraits of a woman's eye if they were involved with someone who perhaps was married or attached to someone else. I thought this was a fascinating practice. Also there are numerous references to woodcuts. Woodcuts were printed stories that were written up by anyone who was a witness to the event. These lurid stories were sold for entertainment, even if they were often written by unreliable witnesses and had no truth to them. The murder woodcuts were some of the most popular. It was interesting to see the forerunners to our modern newspapers and magazines. *There is section where Lucy visits the prison and the conditions were horrific. I liked that this book featured the justice system for the day. Crime and punishment were treated harshly and so many people were tried and even executed on false testimonies and accusations. It was certainly a revealing look at how justice was served in this era. *I appreciated that at the end of the book, there is an author's note that discusses her research and it explains the historical events that she included and she reveals any historical inaccuracies that were in her book. And The Not So Much: *I have little knowledge on the religious movements during this era and there were numerous references to the Quakers that left me a bit befuddled. I don't know much about the Quakers, and I honestly never had a clear picture of what their motives were and what they stood for and I was not clear on their involvement in the story. I would have loved to have a bit more detail on the Quakers, it would have cleared things up a bit for me. Near the end, there is also a reference to a reverend being a papist and I had no clue what that meant. Adam, the son of Lucy's employer, is involved with the Quakers and I was not clear on this relationship, either. *I was a touch disappointed in the romance in this one. While it is nice to read a book that does not feature a romance as a focal point, I was a bit sad that at the end that Lucy's romantic future is uncertain. There is a touch of romance in this for all of you who need a romance. It is slow building and realistic and I enjoyed watching it develop but it isn't the centerpiece of the story. *The first portion of the story is a bit slow as there is a great deal of time establishing the characters and the setting. The main murder doesn't occur until about a third of the way in, and that point the story picks up. This isn't too much of an issue for me as I appreciate that Ms. Caulkins took the time to carefully flesh out her characters and do her world building. The only other issue I had was at the three quarter mark, the story veers away from the murder mystery and diverts to the plague storyline. I did enjoy the whole story line featuring the plague, but I was a bit distracting from the main storyline. A Murder at Rosamund's Gate is an interesting historical murder mystery that will be sure to please fans of this genre. I appreciated that it had well developed characters, detailed world building and suspense. The addition of some of the big events in history such as the London Fire and the Black Plague really added to the story. If you enjoy historical books and are looking for one that features a mystery definitely give this one a try! Favorite Quotations: "Best have care, then. Living with a murderer under your roof may not be so good for your health." "There is truth, my dear, and there is the law." "Not just to see the university, though of course the notion drew her, but to be a part of it. To live and dream, to study and share her thoughts, to ponder the words of great men." I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review. [email protected] Day Ramblings.

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